Crested Butte citizens should not be complacent over Brush Creek proposal

Citizens of Crested Butte: Think of this as a challenge to please inform yourselves on the impacts of the Brush Creek development and the long-term consequences to our community. Regardless of whether you ultimately agree or disagree with this project, please take the time to educate yourself and have a voice on the ultimate decision. If you are a full-time or part-time resident, we all owe it to each other to tell our elected officials what you think. For the record, I and The Friends of Brush Creek understand and support this valley’s need for affordable housing. This site would work for a much smaller development, which would include parks and recreation for all and a transit facility. I think the County should develop a comprehensive plan based on the findings of the Gunnison Valley Housing Authority 2016 Needs Assessment. However, the current project ignores one of the basic and fundamental objectives of the study; build affordable housing throughout the valley, located in close proximity to where the jobs exist. Instead, the development of the project will create a mini-city miles away from most of the jobs and where most people don’t want to live. Many people are complacent about this project. They say, “There is no way our County Manager and our elected County Commissioners would ever allow a development that would increase the population of the Crested Butte community by 800 people over the next three years, so I’m not worried.” I have also heard, “The school will not handle an increase of close to 300 new students so I am certain our Town Council will block this massive growth.” Or, “Can you imagine the congestion to our hiking and biking trails? The Town won’t allow it.” News fl ash! The County will and the Town might approve this project unless we all rise up and voice our concerns. They are so hungry for affordable housing that they are blinded to the negative impacts of what this new mini-city will impose on our community. With the pressure from the County, it appears that the Crested Butte Council will not fight “city hall.” I have been joking all summer that Gary Gates and Gatesco could have proposed 60 affordable housing units with a coal mine or nuclear plant next door and our officials would have said, “Hum, this sounds like a good plan to me. Let’s see what it looks like.” Granted, both the Commissioners and Council are in a tough position because we all understand the need for this type of housing, but poor long-range planning, ignoring the findings of the Gunnison Valley study, and not even including the Gunnison County Housing Authority in the development process, is not a good reason to jump at the first plan offered. The Friends of Brush Creek, a non-profit organization, was formed first and foremost to educate this valley to the impacts of this proposal. There is a wealth of factual information on the FOBC website which will give you a good basis to make an informed decision. So please go to www.FriendsofBrushCreek.org and if you support our cause, join our team and work with us to stop this current proposal. Our community’s quality of life hinges on stopping this first, unwise attempt in solving our countywide housing problem. If informed citizens tell our elected officials of their concerns, I think these elected leaders of our community will make the right decision.

Robert E. McCarter, Crested Butte